Belize is a country in Central America, bordered by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the west and south, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. Belize is unique as it has the mainland which is Central America and the islands which are Caribbean. There are several ways to get to Belize, including:
Air Travel to Belize
Many major airlines offer direct flights to Belize City from several cities in the United States, Canada, and Central America. The Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City is the main airport in Belize, with several airlines offering daily flights.
It is estimated that around 81% of all international tourists travel come through the Belize International Airport. In 2023 it is even easier to travel to Belize with more international direct flights flying to Belize and the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) than ever before.
The only international airport in Belize is in Belize City, which is BZE (PhilipGoldsonInternational Airport). The airport handles all the international air travel to and from Belize.
Below you can see all of the direct flights to Belize as of the start of 2023 and the corresponding airline;
Most of the direct flights are from major US travel hubs including; Houston (IAH), Denver, Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami (MIA). Belize also has direct flights from Canada (Toronto & Calgary). Belize also has international flights to popular Central American Destinations like Panama City, Cancun, Honduras, and Guatemala City.
Learn more about the direct flights to Belize below;
Belize is accessible by land from Mexico and Guatemala. There are several bus services that operate between Belize and these neighboring countries. It is important to check Belize visa requirements and border crossing regulations before attempting to cross the border by land.
Belize has 2 border crossings;
The Western Border (Benque Viejo Del Carmen)
The Northern Border (Santa Elena)
The Western Border (Guatemala & Belize)
Belize borders Guatemala to the West. Near San Ignacio, in the Cayo District there is the Western Border. There is one main highway crossing of the border, at Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo District, Belize, and Melchor de Mencos, Peten, Guatemala.
The Northern Border (Mexico & Belize)
The Northern border is an international border between the countries of Belize and Mexico. Currently, there are two official crossings at the border, which are international bridges. The main bridge is located between Subteniente Lopez, Quintana Roo, Mexico, and Santa Elena, Corozal District, Belize.
Sea & Water Travel to Belize
Belize is a popular destination for cruise ships, with several major cruise lines offering stops in Belize City and other ports throughout the country.
Fort Street Tourism Village is the original Belize cruise ship port. The Fort Street Village port has several courtyards, snack bars, and local stores with duty-free shopping. Several restaurants offer authentic Caribbean, Belizean, and international cuisine, and there is often live local entertainment. The Fort Street Village Cruise Port is located in Belize City and is the most popular cruise ship terminal in Belize.
Harvest Caye Cruise Port
Harvest Caye is a newly opened docking port in the southern Stann Creek District (near Placenecia) that currently caters to Norwegian Cruise Line passengers.
Port Coral Cruise Ship Port
The Government of Belize has started a new “Cruise Ship Docking Facility” (passenger terminal) in Belize City. The new cruise ship port will be called “Port Coral”. The development project also includes building a resort and theme park on Stake Bank Caye – an island located approx 5 miles southeast of Belize City.
Named Port Coral or Stake Bank Cruise Ship Docking Facility. The new “Stake Bank Cruise Ship Docking Facility” or Port Coral will be 25 acres and have a docking capacity of 4 liners. Along with the 4 liner docking stations, the new terminal complex also includes a 60-slip yacht marina.
Construction at Port Coral, a new cruise ship docking facility is well underway and expected to open in 2022.
There is also a water taxi and ferry service which goes between Chethumal, Mexico, and San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye.
Belize has many beautiful areas and destinations. Each with its own uniqueness. With a diverse landscape of islands, beaches, and jungles, there are a lot of great places to own property in Belize. The best place to own depends on what a person is looking for. That said, you have options to choose from when considering buying property in Belize.
Belize has stunning white sand beaches, lush rainforests, and Mayan ruins, with the largest barrier reef in the Western hemisphere, Belize has recently emerged as one of the top emerging tourist destinations. Belize allows full foreign ownership, which makes it a popular offshore investment destination and a great place for buying property.
The growth in tourism has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in interest in Belize real estate. Belize has become one of the hottest places to invest, and retire in the region.
Some of the best places to buy property in Belize include:
Ambergris Caye is a popular destination for tourists and expats, with beautiful beaches and a vibrant community. Ambergris Caye (and San Pedro Town) are the top tourist destinations in Belize. With that, it is the most popular location to own and invest in property. Ambergris Caye real estate is by far the most desirable property option.
Ambergris Caye is an island on the northeastern coast of Belize. Ambergris Caye is the largest island in the country and is the most popular tourist destination. Ambergris Caye is loved for its long sandy beaches, laidback island Caribbean lifestyle, and its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef. A lot of Ambergris Caye has been set aside as a nature preserve, marine reserve, and national park, which adds to its appeal as the most popular destination for international buyers and people looking to own property in Belize.
San Pedro Town is the municipality on Ambergris Caye. San Pedro Town and the popularity of Ambergris Caye has it among the most in-demand and developed real estate investment destination in Belize.
Ambergris Caye is one of the most sought-after locations in Belize. Not only for tourism but also for property ownership. It is the undisputed top location. As the largest island in Belize, it has been ranked as one of the top destinations for retirement and investment by Forbes, International Living, MSNBC, and more. Ambergris Caye is famous for its proximity to the Belize Reef which attracts avid divers and fishers. The reef extends the East Coast of the island, and the West Coast boasts calm waters and beautiful beaches (like the popular Secret Beach).
Ambergris Caye also offers abundant options for different kinds of water-based activities, including scuba diving the Belize Barrier Reef, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, reef fishing, jet skis, paddle boarding, kayaking, and more. Ambergris Caye also has great restaurants offering fine dining options as well as an amazing expat community.
Ambergris Caye is commonly referred to as the “Isla Bonita” (which is “the Beautiful Island”). With all it has to offer, there are few who disagree that Ambergris Caye is one of the top choices for expats who were looking to relocate to Belize or investors looking to invest in an emerging island destination.
San Pedro Belize Travel Guide (on Ambergris Caye)
Placencia is a town at the very tip of a peninsula located in the southern part of Belize in the Stan Creek District. Placencia is a small, peaceful village on the southern coast of Belize with stunning beaches and a relaxed atmosphere.
Placencia has grown over the years along the peninsula to include; Seine Bight, Cocoplum, Maya Beach, and Plantation. Placencia is an ideal location for buyers looking to enjoy a tranquil lifestyle by the beach.
Placencia is a picturesque village located in the Stann Creek District of Belize, situated on a narrow peninsula along the Caribbean coast. Known for its beautiful beaches, laid-back atmosphere, and vibrant local culture, Placencia is a popular destination for travelers seeking a tropical paradise. It is often ranked in the top 3 destinations in Belize (behind Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker).
The Placencia Peninsula (which is made up of multiple municipalities) stretches for approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) and offers stunning white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. The village itself is charming, with colorful wooden houses, local shops, restaurants, and beachfront bars.
In addition to water activities, Placencia offers various land-based adventures as well as lush jungles and hiking trails in the area. You can explore the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to the world’s first jaguar reserve and offers hiking trails, birdwatching, and the chance to spot other wildlife. Nearby Monkey River also provides opportunities for wildlife viewing, including howler monkeys, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species.
To reach Placencia, you can fly into the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City and then take a domestic flight to the Placencia Airport. Alternatively, you can take a scenic drive from Belize City, which takes around three to four hours.
Placencia Belize Trip
Caye Caulker is the smaller island that is just south of Ambergris Caye. Caye Caulker also sees a significant volume of tourists. Though the tourism to Caye Caulker is more backpackers with a number of local hostels. While there are many water sports, and activities similar to Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is becoming better known for its nightlife. This makes it a popular location for the younger crowd.
Caye Caulker is also located near the Belize Barrier Reef, which makes it popular for diving and fishing enthusiasts. The southern half of the island is mostly developed and the northern portion is separated from the town by “The Split” which is a narrow waterway that runs through the middle of the island.
Caye Caulker is a smaller island than Ambergris Caye which is known for its laid-back and relaxed atmosphere, Caye Caulker attracts tourists seeking a tranquil tropical getaway. The island is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) long and has a narrow width of about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile). It is characterized by sandy streets, colorful wooden houses, and a car-free environment. The main mode of transportation on the island is bicycles and golf carts.
Caye Caulker offers beautiful white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, making it a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, fishing, and other water activities. The Belize Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest coral reef system in the world, is easily accessible from the island, offering incredible opportunities for underwater exploration.
The island has a small but lively village area with restaurants, bars, and shops. The local cuisine often features freshly caught seafood, including lobster, conch, and fish. Caye Caulker is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with various bars offering live music and entertainment.
Caye Caulker Island Belize
Cayo is near the Belize & Guatemala border (on the westward side of Belize’s mainland). Cayo is home to many Mayan ruins as well as lush jungles. Cayo is a rural area with a growing expat community, offering beautiful scenery and a laid-back lifestyle. Cayo’s most popular municipality is San Ignacio but the district is also the location of the Belizean capital of Belmopan.
The Cayo District is located in western Belize near the border with Guatemala. Cayo is a district and is the largest district in the country. Cayo is known for its natural beauty, ancient Maya ruins, and outdoor adventure opportunities. The Cayo District is home to the town of San Ignacio, which serves as a gateway to the various attractions in the area. San Ignacio offers a range of property options around Cayo. There are real estate opportunities in the jungle, farmland, remote resorts, and more.
One of the main attractions of the Cayo District is its proximity to the Maya archaeological sites. The most famous and impressive among them is Xunantunich. Other notable Maya sites in the region include Cahal Pech, Caracol, and Tikal.
Cayo also has numerous rivers and waterways throughout the district. There are also countless waterfalls including; Big Rock Falls, Thousand-Foot Falls, and Butterfly Falls to explore and enjoy.
The Cayo District is also home to several nature reserves and national parks. The Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve showcases stunning waterfalls, natural pools, and the unique pine forests of Belize. The Belize Botanic Gardens and the Belize Zoo are also worth a visit for nature lovers.
Hopkins is a small fishing village on the coast of Belize with a close-knit community and beautiful natural surroundings. Hopkins is just north of Placencia near the town of Dangriga. Hopkins is popular for its small-town vibe.
Hopkins is primarily a fishing village with a laid-back and friendly atmosphere. It is very much a “small town”. The village is known for its strong Garifuna heritage, and visitors have the opportunity to experience the rich traditions and music of the Garifuna people.
The beach in Hopkins stretches for several miles, offering pristine white sand and clear turquoise waters. It is an ideal destination for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The warm Caribbean Sea is also a great spot for water activities such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and fishing.
One of the nearby attractions is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as the Jaguar Preserve. It is a vast protected area encompassing lush rainforests, waterfalls, and hiking trails. The sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans, and many other species.
Belize City is the largest city in Belize and the economic hub of the country, with a range of property options available. Belize City is a coastal city and the location of the Belize International Airport (Philip Goldson International) which is the only international airport in Belize.
Belize City serves as the commercial hub and principal gateway for international travelers arriving in Belize. As the economic and cultural center of Belize, Belize City offers a mix of colonial history, bustling streets, and a vibrant local atmosphere. The city has a rich and varied heritage, with influences from the Maya civilization, European colonization, and the African, Creole, and Garifuna cultures.
Although Belize City is not typically considered a major tourist destination, it does have some points of interest worth exploring.
Corozal is the border town between Belize and Mexico and the northeastern shore of Belize.
Corozal is a town located in northern Belize, near the border with Mexico (close to Quintana Roo & the Yucatan Peninsula). It is a coastal town/region with Chethumal across the border on the Mexico side. Corozal Town is the capital of the Corozal District and is situated on the Bay of Corozal, which connects to the Caribbean Sea. Across the bay/lagoon sea is the island of Ambergris Caye.
Most people who looking at buying property in Corozal are very underwhelmed and often pursue something elsewhere. In Corozal, there are not as many opportunities for foreign investment. Corozal is on the bayside and is more of a border town between Mexico and Belize than anything. With this, you have a lot of logistics and supply chain traffic going through. Think of it as a tropical truck stop rather than an “off-the-beaten-path real estate investment”.
The town of Corozal has a rich history, with influences from both the Maya civilization and later European colonization. It was originally inhabited by the Maya people, and several archaeological sites, such as Santa Rita, can be found in Corozal. The town of Corozal was settled by Mestizo refugees from the Yucatan Peninsula in the 19th century, and today it has a mix of cultural influences from Maya, Mestizo, and other ethnic groups.
Corozal offers a more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere compared to the busier tourist destinations in Belize. It has a small-town charm and a welcoming community. The town has a central park, known as Corozal Town Central Park, where locals gather and socialize. You can find restaurants, shops, and other amenities in the town center.
One of the main attractions in Corozal is the proximity to the beaches. The Bay of Corozal provides access to the Caribbean Sea, and there are several beach areas where you can swim, sunbathe, or enjoy water sports. Some popular nearby beaches include Consejo Shores, Sarteneja, and Corozal Bay.
Corozal is also known for its proximity to Cerros, an ancient Maya site situated on a coastal ridge. If you’re interested in exploring the natural beauty of the region, you can visit the Shipstern Nature Reserve. It is a protected area with diverse ecosystems, including mangroves, wetlands, and wildlife.
To reach Corozal, you can fly into the Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City and then take a domestic flight or a bus to Corozal. The town is also accessible by road from Mexico, as it is located near the Mexican border.
Best Place to Own Belize Property
Ambergris Caye luckily has something we like to call “Island Economics”. When investing in an island there is only so much land available. The limitations on available land create scarcity, not only scarcity of property but also scarcity of land. There is only so much land on an island. Island economics means that you see greater property appreciation on an island due to scarcity of property and limitations on how much can be built.
Areas and destinations on the mainland with nearly endless developable land rarely see the same level of equity appreciation. One of the difficulties of investing in a property that has nearly endless room for growth (the mainland) is the fact that developers continue to build, so real estate investors don’t see the same level of appreciation that they see on an island, where the availability of land is limited.
This is basic economics, Ambergris Caye has higher demand and less supply. Mainland destinations in Belize have less demand and nearly unlimited supply. On Ambergris Caye, you have far more amenities (with the reef 400 yards off the coast), as well as beaches on the East & West Coast.
In Belize, there are some cheaper and less expensive property options. That said, not all Belize real estate is created equal. One of the most famous quotes from Warren Buffett is, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.”
It is important to conduct thorough research on the area and property you are considering and to consult with a qualified real estate agent to ensure that you are making a sound investment that meets your needs and aligns with your goals. If you are looking to buy property in Belize, contact RE/MAX Belize!
There are two types of Residency status in Belize. If you are looking for residency status in Belize you can apply to be a; Permanent Resident or Temporary Resident.
Permanent Residency is applied when a person (or persons) wants to make Belize their home and will be staying in Belize for a long period of time. The applicant has plans to reside and live in Belize.
Temporary Residency can also be granted to people looking for status in Belize and show they have invested in Belize. A temporary resident can be a person who has made a substantial investment in Belize (often Belize Real Estate) but due to commitments outside Belize cannot meet ordinary Permanent Residence restrictions.
Temporary Residence status is given for a period of only one (1) year and becomes renewable at the end of that given period. If someone is applying for the investment residency, they need to show every year that the investment has remained in Belize.
The “Temporary Investment Residency” allows investors in Belize to obtain residency if they show they have invested over $500,000 BZ ($250,000 US) in Belize. This is most commonly done through real estate. The reason it is called “Temporary” is that you have to show every year that the money has remained in Belize.
For persons applying for Temporary Residence in Belize, you are required to
Show evidence of investments in Belize valued at not less than five hundred thousand Belize Dollars – BZ$500,000 ($250,000 US)
Copy of Receipt of Acceptance (Provided by Immigration Department upon submission)
Completed Application form
Letter stating reasons for applying for Temporary Residence
Complete Copy of Passport
Police Record (From Belize)
Police Record from last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from date of issue)
A medical certificate, HIV, VDRL, and TB results
Evidence of place of residence in Belize, i.e., rental/lease agreement with a current utility bill showing the applicant’s name and same address OR property title with property tax assessment
Evidence of investments in Belize officially valued no less than $500,000bz and where available
Real Estate Ownership
Business bank statements
An official valuation of equipment and buildings to be used in business/investment
Company Registration Certificate
Articles of Association and/or Summary of Share Capital.
Trade license in Belize
Belize Social Security Registration
Belize General Sales Tax Registration – Belize Business Tax Assessment
Income Tax Letter
Recent Bank Statement (If Applicable) Statement must show transactions to Belize/banking activity in Belize
Marriage Certificate (If Applicable)
(3) Passport-size Photographs
Social Security Card (If Applicable)
Contribution History from Social Security or Declaration stating non-contribution and why.
Inclusion of Spouse
Complete Copy of Passport
Police Record (From Belize)
Police Record from the last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from the date of issue) 4. Medical Certificate, HIV, VDRL, and TB results
Income Tax Letter
Recent Bank Statement (If Applicable) Statement must show transactions to Belize/banking activity in Belize
Letter of Financial Support
(3) Passport-size Photographs
Social Security Card (If Applicable)
Contribution History from Social Security (if applicable)
Inclusion of Children
.1 Birth Certificate Copy
Complete Copy of Passport
Police record (From Belize. (If the minor is 12+years)
Police Record from last country of residence (no longer than 6 months from date of issue if child 12+ years)
Medical Certificate (All minors), HIV, DRL, and TB results (If the minor is 12+ years)
(3) Passport-size Photographs
Letter of Financial Support
Notarized Letter of Authorization/Consent from the parent not making the application and
Notarized copy of ID If not in Belize.
Belize is one of the easiest countries in the region to obtain residency. There are quite a few ways you can apply and get residency and the route will depend on your personal circumstances. When you land in Belize, you are issued a 30-day tourist visa. You can stay in Belize as long as you want as long as you renew the tourist visa.
Belize imposes import duties on a wide range of goods that are imported into the country. The import duty rates can vary depending on the type of goods, their value, and their country of origin. Here are some of the main categories of goods and their corresponding import duty rates in Belize:
Food and agricultural products: Import duties on food and agricultural products can vary depending on the type of product. For example, import duties on meat products can range from 10% to 40%, while duties on fruits and vegetables are generally lower, ranging from 0% to 25%.
Vehicles: Import duties on vehicles can be high, with rates ranging from 45% to 72% depending on the type of vehicle, its value, and its age.
Electronics and appliances: Import duties on electronics and appliances can range from 0% to 40%, depending on the type of product and its value.
Clothing and textiles: Import duties on clothing and textiles can range from 5% to 30%, depending on the type of product.
Furniture: Import duties on furniture can range from 10% to 40%, depending on the type of furniture and its value.
It’s important to note that Belize also imposes other taxes and fees on imports, such as a value-added tax (VAT) of 12.5% and an environmental tax of 2%. The exact import duty rates and other fees can change over time, so it’s advisable to consult with a customs broker or other professional for the most up-to-date information.
Air travel and flights are essential for international tourism as it provides vital links for the global tourism industry. It is estimated that over half (58%) of all international tourists travel by air, this number is even more so in Belize where in 2022 over 81% of tourism came through international flights/travel. The tourism industry in Belize depends on sustainable growth and an increase in air travel.
This is shown by the number of new airlines with routes to Belize and the increased number of direct international routes. Tourism is essential to sustainable economic development in Caribbean destinations like Belize. The steady increase and inflow of tourists have a direct correlation to economic growth and appreciation of Belize real estate.
In 2023 it is even easier to travel to Belize with more international direct flights flying to Belize and the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) than ever before. This is a sign of the growth in Belize tourism and the continued upward trajectory. Below you can see all of the direct flights to Belize as of the start of 2023 and the corresponding airline;
Most of the direct flights are from major US travel hubs including; Houston (IAH), Denver, Los Angeles (LAX), Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami (MIA). Belize also has international flights to popular Central American Destinations like Panama City, Cancun, Honduras, and Guatemala City. You can see more information on the travel days below;
United States Direct Flights to Belize
Direct non-stop flights to Belize are available with United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airlines. Direct non-stop seasonal (Nov to Apr) flights to Belize are available with Sun Country Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Frontier Airlines.
Alaska Airlines direct flights were announced in November 2021 and started in 2022 with direct flights from Los Angeles (LAX) & Seattle (SEA).
Seattle, Washington (SEA): Direct Flights Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday.
Los Angeles, California (LAX): Direct Flights Friday & Saturday.
One of the best indicators for what will happen to tourism in a specific market is airline stats. The primary reason is that airlines provide some of the most accurate data for how many new visitors will be coming into a market. Airlines also plan their new or additional routes around patterns and searches, this indicates more people are inquiring about Belize.
Increase in Flights = Increase in Incoming Passangers = Increase in Demand for Rentals
Increase in Flights = Increase in Tourism = Appreciation of Real Estate Values
There is a direct correlation between real estate appreciation and tourism growth within tourism markets. The greater the demand, with a limited supply, equates to an increase in value. This, in turn, leads to higher Belize real estate value!
Direct Flights & Belize Economy
The Caribbean region (including Ambergris Caye, Belize) is heavily reliant on tourism for its economic health and the growth of the country. In many Caribbean markets such as Cuba, Guyana, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Dominican Republic, more than 90 percent of tourists arrive by air. Luckily, Belize has both the mainland and the islands, with roughly 81% of our 2022 inbound tourism arriving by air travel.
Traveling to Ambergris Caye
The only international airport in Belize is in Belize City, which is BZE (PhilipGoldsonInternational Airport). The airport handles all the international air travel to and from Belize. If you are planning a trip to Belize and looking to visit San Pedro Town & Ambergris Caye (the #1 destination in Belize) it is very easy. There are domestic puddle jumper flights from Tropic Air & Maya Island Air. The flights run every 30 minutes from Belize City to the island and are a short 10 to 15-minute flight over the reef and beautiful Caye’s.
Visitors can also take the Water Taxi/Ferry which departs from Belize City Ferry Terminal. The Ferry is a longer trip but also very easy.
The Belize Qualified Retirement Program (QRP) was created to facilitate eligible people who meet the needed requirements, to obtain residency while allowing them an easy way to permanently live and retire and relax in Belize.
Belize is recognized as a top tourist destination and is also considered to be a top destination for people looking for retirement in the Caribbean. To incentivize people to move and retire in Belize, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) put in place the Qualified Retired Person Incentive Program (QRP). The QRP was developed in the 1990s to open doors for anyone over the age of 45 who is looking to retire in the Central American-Caribbean paradise of Belize.
Belize offers retirees a lot of upsides; English-Speaking, British Common Law, Low-Tax Jurisdiction, close proximity to home, and warm Caribbean Climate. With the influx of retirees and Baby Boomers, Belize has developed a “Permanent Tourist” sector. The QRP was put in place for retirees whose income allows for self-sustainability. The benefits of Belize’s QRP Program for the individual and the country are significant. As stated by International Living “Belize has one of the world’s best retiree programs”.
Who Qualifies for QRP?
The QRP is a great program and allows people who meet the criteria to move and reside in Belize (while easily obtaining residency). Though the QRP is a great program, it is not for everyone. There is a list of qualifications that a person meet to apply and get approval. To be granted approval for QRP the qualifications include;
A person must be 45 years or older to apply.
When applying dependents include spouses and children under 18 years.
A person must meet the financial requirement and be the beneficial recipient of a retirement income of $2,000 USD monthly or $24,000 USD annually generated from a source outside of Belize in an approved foreign currency.
Retirement Income includes:
Social Security Benefits
Retirement Contribution Plans
And other means of retirement income
A person applying for QRP must be able to provide a written undertaking to deposit the required amount in a bank, credit union, or licensed financial institution in Belize.
Must pass a security clearance check carried out by the Ministry of National Security in Belize.
Must be able to remain in Belize for a minimum of 30 consecutive days annually (every year).
Qualifying Countries for the QRP include people with citizenship or status in:
All Commonwealth countries excluding Belize
United States of America
Member States of the European Union [EU]
Asian-Pacific countries of Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
All South American Countries
QRP Incentives & Benefits
The QRP offers applicants and QRP members an array of benefits. Any person who has been accepted into the QRP Program is entitled to the following under the Belize Retired Persons Incentives Act
Belize Residency Status – QRP holders and their dependents shall receive a QRP Resident Card to reside in Belize allowing multiple entries into the country without a Visa. *Resident card to be renewed annually *
Duty Exemptions – QRP holders shall be entitled to import duty and tax exemption on the following, for personal use only, within the first year of acceptance into the program:
Household & Personal Effects multiple entries allowed with no limit on the dollar value of effects
Motor Vehicle [Model must be within the last 5 years] – QRP’s are allowed to purchase a new vehicle every four  years with proper disposal of the previous vehicle
Light Aircraft [Model must be less than 17,000 kg]
Tax Exemptions – QRP holders shall be exempted from all taxes and duties on income received from a source outside of Belize, capital gains tax, and inheritance tax (estate tax).
Ease of Purchasing Land – QRP holders are entitled to purchase land for the construction of a home or purchase a home for residential use only.
Dependants under QRP can engage in any employment in Belize
Carry on any business, trade, or profession within Belize if such business relates to activities carried on mainly outside of Belize and conducted exclusively with persons not resident in Belize.
Practice philanthropy and volunteer work in Belize.
QRP Member Benefits:
Qualified Retired Persons can import personal effects free of import duties;
Qualified Retired persons are strongly encouraged to purchase a vehicle in Belize. The vehicle must not be more than three years old. Though they can import a vehicle without import duties.
This requirement is the same for imported vehicles.
Qualified Retired Persons can import a boat free of import duties to be used for personal use;
Qualified Retired Persons are exempted from payment of all taxes on income received from outside the jurisdiction of Belize.
QRP Dependent Benefits:
Belize Residency Status – Dependent will receive a QRP resident card allowing multiple entries into Belize without a Visa.
Engage in any employment in Belize.
Carry on any business, trade or profession within Belize if such business relates to activities carried on mainly outside of Belize and conducted exclusively with persons not resident in Belize.
Make any investment in Belize.
Practice philanthropy in Belize.
Retire and Invest Program
The BTB (Belize Tourism Board) has introduced a new program that allows QRP holders the ability to more freely invest in Belize and conduct business in Belize. QRP Members will be entitled to carry on business in Belize with approval if the Member meets the following qualifications:
A Business Plan
Proof of Investment of at least 1 Million Belize dollars (US$500,000.00)
If the person has resided in Belize for at least 180 non-consecutive days.
The Business must employ at least five Belizean citizens.
A QRP Member granted approval to carry on business in Belize will be eligible for the following:
Permanent residency after designation as a QRP for five (5) years;
For the grant of any other license or permit necessary for carrying on business in Belize;
Practice philanthropy in Belize.
Documents Required for QRP
A QRP Application Form.
Notarized Birth Certificate for each family member (QRP applicant and dependants)
Notarized Marriage Certificate (if the spouse is under QRP)
Original Police Record from last place of residence (issued one month prior to application).
Color Copy of the entire Passport (including all blank pages). This is required for each family member and/or dependant. Each page must be certified and stamped by a notary.
Proof of Income. An official statement from a Bank or any other Financial Institution from the country of residence will be required certifying that the applicant is receiving the required financials for QRP. Proof of a monthly income of a minimum of US $2,000.00 or $24,000.00 US annually. This can be through a pension or annuity that has been generated outside of Belize. Once approved, all retirees are requested to open a local bank account and deposit their monthly pension funds or annual income in the Belizean institution. The Belize Tourism Board will request bank statements on a yearly basis to show proof of income and compliance with the retirement program.
Medical Examination and blood work.
Four front (profile) and four side passport photographs of the QRP applicant and each member of the family applying as dependants.
Things to Know About QRP
Qualified Retired Persons are not allowed to seek employment in Belize, however, voluntary work and business investments are encouraged.
Qualified Retired Persons need to submit a yearly bank statement showing compliance with the financial requirements of the program.
Qualified Retired Persons are required to renew their retiree status every year.
Qualified Retired Persons need a customs broker to process your importation of personal effects, vehicles, or boats.
Qualified Retired Persons are not allowed duty-free on items used to repair or build, nor tools of their trade.
The benefits of the QRP Program include a permanent exemption from all taxes in Belize (estate taxes, income taxes, capital gains taxes, and most import taxes). And while the Belize QRP visa offers full-time residency, new residents can enjoy all the QRP benefits even by spending as little as one month in Belize.
The requirements to successfully enter the Belize QRP Program are remarkably simple when compared to residency programs in other popular retirement destinations. It is a program put in place to incentivize foreign investment and retirement in Belize.
The United Nations defined “sustainability” as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainability has become a popular buzzword in both the tourism and real estate industries. That said there are countries that take more action when it comes to environmental policies and sustainability. Countries, like Belize, have programs in place to help protect the environment, and culture and reduce the ecological impact. Belize is leading the way when it comes to environmental policies and sustainability (according to Forbes).
Many countries in the region of Caribbean & Central America depend on tourism dollars as their primary source of income and GDP. Belize is a country that has a lot of its economy centered around tourism. Much of the tourism to Belize is around the country’s natural ecosystem including the Belize Barrier Reef & lush Rainforest Jungles. Preserving the environment of Belize is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good economic sense based on the country’s tourism sector.
Belize is located in Central America on the Caribbean side, just south of Mexico (below the Yucatan Peninsula) because of this, Belize has a decidedly Caribbean feel and culture. The geographical location and Caribbean Culture (also being English Speaking)is appealing to visitors and tourists who want to go snorkeling, diving, and fishing in some of the most beautiful water in the world and along the world’s largest living reef. Belize is home to the second-largest barrier reef in the world (the largest living reef). It has a plethora of islands off the coast, including Ambergris Caye (the largest island and most popular destination in Belize) with rainforests blanketing the mainland.
With the environment being a large tourism driver, Belize has set up several programs to not only attract travelers but to protect the land and its ecosystem.
For example, Belize has put in programs to protect endangered species such as the Jaguar, also partnering with the Maya Forest Corridor, protecting landscapes from Belize’s Maya Mountains, through the tri-national Maya forest. This region which consists of Belize, Mexico, and Guatemala is the most extensive continuous stretch of jungle in Central America.
More than 70% of Belize is forested, these lush rainforests make the Belize jungle a mecca for wildlife. Belize has also dedicated that 46% of the country is protected National Park & Marine Reserve. Because of this, Belize has over a hundred protected areas, both on land and around the reef.
Belize is also at the forefront of leading cultural sustainability, with efforts to support local community tourism so travelers can engage with and learn about the local Mayan & Garifuna cultures. Belize has a rich history filled with cultural diversity. The plethora of Mayan Temples are all protected and are a key part of Belizean Heritage.
Sustainability of the Reef & Ocean
The Belize Barrier Reef is the country’s largest attraction and something natural to the region. Because of this, Belize is very active in preserving the water and coastline. There are a number of protected areas and Marine Reserves (including Hol Chan and the popular Attols). Belize has also banned all commercial fishing from its water, as well as banned commercial drilling from the coastline.
The waters and reefs along the East Coast of Belize and extending the entire coastline host a diverse variety of marine life, from sting rays, manatees, sea turtles, and colorful corals. The Belize Barrier Reef draws scuba divers, snorkelers, fishermen, and water enthusiasts from all over the world. Belize has a reef protection and sustainable tourism program to go along with the “Blue Economy Initiative“, these programs include a new diving site where divers can explore the marine life and waters while reducing strain on these radiant reefs and eco-systems.
Belize has put in place a law and moratorium on offshore oil exploration and drilling in the entirety of Belizean waters. The reef is an integral part of many Belizeans’ livelihoods, whether in the fishing industry or tourism industry, and preserving that water is a key sustainability effort.
Belize also has the Fish Right, Eat Right program which has a commitment to sustainable seafood. The program was created to control illegal fishing and promote best practices in fisheries. Many restaurants, especially in Ambergris Caye, have signed up for the program and have been sourcing seafood responsibly and through local vendors. The program initially targeted restaurants and hotels but is slated to include cooperatives, fish markets, supermarkets, and other seafood purveyors within Belize.
Belize Sustainability Programs
Ecotourism thrives in Belize with environmental activities, including hiking to waterfalls, horseback riding, ziplining through the canopies, and visiting wildlife sanctuaries. Belize is known to be a culinary destination and is actually devoid of chain restaurants, with locally produced food and popular local restaurants, travelers can enjoy the food and Belizean culture.
Recently, eco-resorts in Belize have become increasingly popular as they prioritize sustainability as their basis in all things they do.
Forbes, the rеnоwnеd buѕіnеѕѕ аnd trаvеl mаgаzіnе, hаѕ lіѕtеd Веlіzе аѕ оnе оf thе bеѕt bеасh dеѕtіnаtіоnѕ fоr fаmіlіеѕ (one of the nine locations mentioned in the article). Fоrbеѕ lіѕtеd Ѕаn Реdrо Аmbеrgrіѕ Сауе hаѕ а “mаgісаl аnd full оf fаmіlу-frіеndlу wоndеr”.
Wendy Altschuler with Forbes said in the article;
“Magical and full of family-friendly wonder, Ambergris Caye has it all. Rent a golf cart, the only way to travel all over the island, and visit Secret Beach (not all that secret), where you can spend the day swimming in the warm water, snorkeling, boating, or enjoying good food. Visitors can also enjoy the underwater world in the pristine waters of Belize. In San Pedro Town, be sure to stop at Caye Coffee Roasting Company; Belize Chocolate Company; and the food truck haven, The Truck Stop.”
It is amazing to see Ambergris Caye get global recognition from Forbes and rank among the top 9 beach destinations for families. Belize has entered the world’s radar, continuing to be featured in major publications around the globe. The Belize Barrier Reef remains the country’s top tourism driver, but the fact our beaches are ranked among the top for families is a further reason so many people visit Belize each year.
The article by Forbes listed other top beach destinations for families as well, and Ambergris Caye ranked among the likes of; The Bahamas, Maldives, Puerto Vallarta, Grenada, Maui, St. Kitts and Nevis, Seaside (Florida), and Cavallo Point (California).
Ambergris Caye Real Estate
With all the publicity going towards Ambergris Caye, the real estate market continues to grow. Publications like Forbes reach an international audience. The more people learn about Belize, the more tourism comes to Ambergris Caye. There is. a direct correlation between tourism numbers and real estate values. With higher visibility and recognition, tourism will grow. As tourism grows, so will the demand for nightly vacation rentals. There is a direct correlation between tourism growth and real estate appreciation. If you are looking at owning property or investing in Ambergris Caye Real Estate contact RE/MAX Belize!
Belize is an amazing place to live and there are tons of opportunities for people not only looking to retire but also invest and/or start a business. Moving to Belize is much easier than in other countries with a lot of incentive programs in place. But there are a few things everyone should know before moving to Belize (to avoid any surprises). The lifestyle in Belize & Ambergris Caye is amazing and it is easy to see why so many people are making the move every year.
Here are the 5 biggest misconceptions about moving to Belize! If you’re considering moving to Belize from the US or Canada be sure to give this video a watch before doing so. We break down some of the key things you should know before making a move to Belize and 5 misconceptions people have before making the transition
Misconception 1: Belize is All the Same
Belize has a very diverse landscape ranging from the Caribbean Islands of Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker to the lush Rainforests in Cayo & San Ignacio. If you have visited Belize, you know how different each area of the country is. If you are looking to be near the beach and reef, you will likely want San Pedro or Ambergris Caye Real Estate. If you are looking to live near Guatemala and enjoy the rainforest, you may prefer Punta Gorda or Cayo. Belize has a lot to offer, and it is important to know that not all of Belize is the same.
Misconception 2: How Quickly Things Can Move
Things sometimes move a little slower in Belize and the different departments handle different areas of permitting. Belize does have a slower and less stressful pace, which is one of the reasons so many people love Belize. That said, the slower lifestyle sometimes requires a little more patience and a different process. You are able to get things done in Belize, but be prepared to go through the due process.
Misconception 3: Everything in Belize is Cheap
A lot of things in Belize are less expensive. Anything made locally is a fraction of the cost of what you are used to in the US or Canada. That said, there are things that are more expensive. If something is imported, you will notice that you are paying more. Also, if you are on an island, there are additional logistics that are needed.
Misconception 4: You Need Residency or Citizenship to Move to Belize
You do not need to be a resident or citizen to move to Belize or to buy property in Belize. There are also no restrictions or time constraints on how long you are able to stay in Belize as an American or Canadian. You can stay in Belize as long as you want, as long as you renew your Tourist Visa every month.
Misconception 5: Finding Property in Belize is Easy
Belize does not have an MLS or standard listing platform. There are a lot of opportunities in Belize and a diverse real estate market. We do not have a formal MLS in Belize, so a real estate agent’s job is a little different. This makes it important to work with a real estate professional who knows and understands the market. We also do not have the same licensing for realtors or a standard real estate association. Make sure you are working with a realtor who has licensing and/or is a member of the different Belize Real Estate associations like AREBB (Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize) or BNAR (Belize National Association of Realtors) or have a brand like RE/MAX which holds its brokers and agents to the highest standard.
There are a number of mistakes people can make when investing offshore or purchasing a vacation home in a market outside the US or Canada. Belize Real Estate has become increasingly popular for investors and people looking to relocate to a warm tropical climate. There are far more than 5 mistakes people make when investing offshore, but we are going to touch on 5 of the most common. Here are the 5 Mistakes people make when investing offshore & how to avoid making them yourself.
5 Mistakes People Make When Investing Offshore
Buying Real Estate Without Using an IBC.
Buying or Selling Property Without Taking Advantage of “Owner-Carry Financing”
Buying for Personal Use & Investment without a Strategy.
Buying Property in an Overly Saturated Market.
Buying Without a Reliable Ownership Structure
1. Buying Without Using an IBC (International Business Corporation)
Owning property in an IBC (an entity structure separate from yourself) will protect your personal assets and give you numerous advantages. Setting up an IBC takes less than 96 hours.
Advantages of using an IBC
Protection from Lawsuits
Save Thousands of Dollars
Higher Return on Investment
Simplicity of Ownership
TIP: Look for properties already in an IBC!
2. Not Planning an Exit Strategy
Selling Your Offshore Investment
Many offshore markets have expensive bank financing, giving you the opportunity to maximize your profitable return by offering your buyers owner carrier financing, at terms you set.
For example, you purchase a lot for $200,000 & now it’s worth $300,000.
You add a traditional cash sale:
$300,000 (sale price) – $200,000 (cost of property) = $100,000 ROI (Return on Investment).
You offer the buyer financing with 20% down, 10% interest, and a 5-year term
= $100,000 profit
+ $82,000 in interest.
= $182,000 ROI (Return on Investment)
As you can see, this structure adds significant percentage points to your ROI. When you offer to owner finance a property you not only improve your ROI, but you also improve the liquidity as you greatly increase your prospective buyer pool. The larger the buyer pool, the easier and faster you sell a property. It is difficult for foreigners to obtain financing in most offshore markets. If you offer seller financing on your property you maximize your return. It is also important to consider your “exit strategy” on any investment property.
3. Buying for Personal Use & Investment
What to look for in a personal use property
Close to Downtown
Who are the neighbors
Is the area quiet
Is the land fully developed
What to look for in an investment property
Is it the path of progress
Is there a potential upside
Where are the value adds
What can be improved
What is the ROI
How long do I want to hold
What financing terms can I obtain
Look deeper and identify what type of property is going to meet your needs.
4. Buying Real Estate in a Saturated Market
Infancy Markets Competitive Advantages
Buying within an infancy market isn’t always a great investment opportunity. With that said, properties within an infancy market have the most potential upside in the future. The key: finding something within an infancy market that lies in the path of progress. Examples would be Ambergris Caye Real Estate & Belize Real Estate.
We’ve all heard the age-old saying, buy low sell high. The vast majority of properties within a saturated market are already overpriced and thus in these conditions, it is much harder to find good, let alone great investment opportunities.
5. Buying in a Market with Poor Ownership Structure
When you are buying real estate offshore you want to make sure that you are buying in a country/market that offers full foreign ownership and fee simple title, You also want to buy and invest in a market where the government is in favor of foreign investment. An example of this would be, Belize.
Belize is a member of the British Common Wealth and practices British Common Law, as such its systems are nearly the same as Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. The fee simple title owner has the right to possess, use the land and dispose of the land as the owner wishes-sell it. In Belize, you own your property outright and can give it away, trade it for other things, lease it to others, sell it, or pass it to others upon death.
In countries like Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras, owning property as a foreigner is far more difficult and there are restrictions in place. Mexico does not directly allow for foreign property ownership and forces investors to jump through hoops to “own” their property. You must incorporate through a Mexican corporation with a Mexican Director and sift through the confusion and grey areas to do so. When buying or investing in Mexico, it is hard to tell if you ever truly own anything.
It is also important to note that most offshore markets have squatting rights. This is not the case in Belize. Belize does not recognize squatters and squatting rights are not a concern.
Advice: Before you invest in an offshore market, invest in your education.
When making an offshore investment take the time to attend webinars, read investment guides, talk to the right people, and research everything you need to know before pulling the trigger.
Investing in Belize Real Estate
Belize is like foreign investing on trainingwheels; everything is in English, we have full foreign ownership, practice British Common law, fee-simple land title, etc.